About 50 Hong Kong pro-democracy figures have been arrested by police on Wednesday below a nationwide safety regulation, following their involvement in an unofficial major election final yr held to extend their possibilities of controlling the legislature, in response to native media studies.
These arrested included former lawmakers and pro-democracy activists, and the group have been arrested on suspicion of subversion below town’s nationwide safety regulation, in response to studies by native newspaper South China Morning Put up and on-line information platform Now Information.
No less than seven members of Hong Kong’s Democratic Occasion — town’s largest Opposition get together — have been arrested, together with former get together chairman Wu Chi-wai. Former lawmakers, together with Helena Wong, Lam Cheuk-ting, and James To, have been additionally arrested, in response to a submit on the get together’s Fb web page.
Benny Tai, a key determine in Hong Kong’s 2014 Occupy Central protests and a former regulation professor, was additionally arrested by the police, in response to native media studies. Tai was one of many primary organisers of the primaries.
Largest mass arrest since June 2020
Banners of a pro-democracy candidate Joshua Wong, sporting glasses, are displayed outdoors a subway station in Hong Kong. (File Picture: AP)
The house of Joshua Wong, a distinguished pro-democracy activist who’s presently serving a 13 1/2-month jail sentence for organising and taking part in an unauthorised protest final yr, was additionally raided this morning, in response to a tweet posted from Wong’s account.
The mass arrests of pro-democracy figures on Wednesday is the biggest so far because the nationwide safety regulation was applied in Hong Kong in June final yr. In current months, Hong Kong has already jailed a number of pro-democracy activists together with Wong and Agnes Chow for his or her involvement in anti-government protests, and others have been charged below the nationwide safety regulation together with media tycoon and outspoken pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai.
Professional-democracy activists and lawmakers had final July held an unofficial major election to determine which candidates they need to discipline in a now-postponed legislative election that may enhance their possibilities of gaining a majority of seats in legislature. Gaining a majority would enable the pro-democracy camp to vote towards payments they deemed to be pro-Beijing, block budgets and paralyse the federal government.
‘May breach the safety regulation’
Greater than 6,00,000 Hong Kongers voted within the primaries, though pro-Beijing lawmakers and politicians criticised the occasion and warned that it “might breach the safety regulation”, which was imposed on town by Beijing to quash dissent following months of anti-government protests.
Individuals queue as much as vote in Hong Kong in an unofficial major for pro-democracy candidates forward of legislative elections. (File Picture: AP)
Beijing additionally blasted the primaries as “unlawful”, calling it a “critical provocation” of Hong Kong’s present electoral system.
Following the handover of Hong Kong to China by the British in 1997, the semi-autonomous Chinese language metropolis has operated on a “one nation, two programs” framework that affords it freedoms not discovered on the mainland. Lately, Beijing has asserted extra management over town, drawing criticism that Hong Kong’s freedoms have been below assault.
The legislative elections, initially slated to be held in September, have been later postponed for a yr after Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam claimed that holding elections can be a threat to public well being given the coronavirus pandemic. The professional-democracy camp denounced the postponement as unconstitutional.
In November, all of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy lawmakers resigned en masse after Beijing handed a decision that led to the disqualification of 4 of its camp, leaving a largely pro-Beijing legislature.